One of Germany’s toughest data regulators is looking for administrative orders to halt Facebook Inc. from collecting user data from his WhatsApp unit.
Regulators in the city of Hamburg are seeking an “immediate enforceable order” before May 15 because of concerns that policy changes could lead to the use of the data for broader marketing and advertising purposes.
“WhatsApp is now used by nearly 60 million people in Germany and is by far the most used social media application, surpassing even Facebook,” said Johannes Caspar, the data commissioner, in a statement on Tuesday. “Therefore, it is much more important to ensure that the high number of users, which make the service attractive to a large number of people, does not lead to the exploitation of the power of misused data.”
Facebook said in a statement that it was reviewing correspondence it had received from Hamburg regulators and “will address any misconceptions around the purpose and effects of the update” and that it remains “committed to providing safe and private communication for everyone.”
“To be clear, by accepting WhatsApp’s updated terms of service, users are not agreeing to any expansion in our ability to share data with Facebook, and the update does not affect the privacy of their messages with friends or family wherever they are in the world. , “Said Facebook.
Companies will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations at the hearing, regulators said.
“To there is currently no surveillance review of the actual processing operations between WhatsApp and Facebook that we are aware of, “said Caspar. “There is reason to believe that the provisions that would allow and expand data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook will be enforced illegally due to a lack of voluntary and informed consent.”
He said formal cases were opened “to prevent the unlawful sharing of mass data, if necessary, and to end the pressure for unlawful consent on millions of people.”
(Update with Facebook comments in fifth, sixth paragraph)